Books 2015 - Vol I. #7

For each issue we’ll highlight books, some new, some old, some for adults, some for children.

Above the Waterfall

 

by Ron Rash

 

The latest novel by an extremely gifted and practiced artist.  It is told by two narrators:  the poetic and contemplative park ranger, Becky, who has somewhat retreaded from active life because of past traumas, and Les, a sheriff who has seen plenty of life’s underbelly and is eyeing retirement.  As the tale set in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains begins, we are brought to the potential convergence of these active and contemplative characters.  And we sway throughout the story in this tension: along paths of beauty, sublime and deep, and along ordinary paths of imperfect justice, glances of wretched decay, and difficult decisions.

 

Here is a taste and enticement of this rich and probing tale:

 

"Fireflies synchronized to make a single meadow-wide flash, then all dark between.  Like being inside the earth’s pulsing heart.  I’d slowed my blood-beat to that rhythm.  So much in the world that night.  The next morning as I’d hiked out, I started to step over a log but my foot jerked back.  When I looked on the other side, a copperhead lay coiled.  Part of me not sight knew it was there.  The atavistic like flint rock sparked.  Amazon tribes see Venus in daylight.  My grandfather needed no watch to tell time.  What more might we recover if open to it?  Perhaps even God."

 

Becky, often citing and imitating Gerard Manley Hopkins, gives us these exquisite moments--perceived in rich, deep, stirred silence.  She also gives us a powerful image of a teacher.  Her words at the end, in small print and easy to miss, conclude the novel.

East of the Sun and West of the Moon: Old Tales from the North

 

Illustrated by Kay Nielson

 

Great, wise, wonder stories, marvelous illustrations: a book to have and keep for the hands and the eyes.

The Four Loves

 

by C.S. Lewis

 

An easy book to read, enjoy, and often return to—a fine refresher for the art of being human…

 

For adults of all sorts

For all who need wonder and wisdom

For high school students and beyond

The Four Cardinal Virtues

 

by Josef Pieper

 

Intended as separate essays, it is worthwhile engaging and taking your time with these penetrating works on the virtues of the human heart.

 

For high school students and beyond

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